This year’s freezing winter conditions have shown no mercy as they tore across Northern China, causing airport closures and wreaking havoc along the way. However, one place that flourishes under such conditions more than any other in China is Harbin. This year, tourists who visit the city during the Spring Festival will be greeted by a wide range of exciting events. There are plenty of fun activities on the frozen Songhua River, such as winter swimming (not for the faint of heart), ice skating or sledding. Of course the biggest attraction in Harbin at the moment is the Snow and ice Festival and the Disney Ice Lantern Park at Zhaolin Park (兆麟公园).
This year’s Harbin Ice and Snow World – which is already in its 11th edition – is a fascinating winter wonderland containing 160,000 cubic metres of ice and 120,000 of snow. With over 2000 ice and snow art sculptures on display, this park is a must-see destination for any visitor going to Harbin. Moreover, if it’s exercise you crave then the Snow and Ice World is also one of the best choices. Choose from over 30 sports and activities such as skiing, ice-skating, riding snow scooters, snow slides, snow football, snowball fights, golf lessons on the snow, ice climbing and even the chance to experience outer space. The most exciting and scary activity on offer is a 200 metre long slide.
The best time to take part in the activities is in the evening at around 3 or 4pm until the night when special shows and performances take place. Among them is a special northern animal show, ballet on ice, snow tent film screenings and many more.
The second biggest winter attraction in Harbin is the Disney themed Harbin Ice Lantern Park. Now in its second year running, the theme of this year’s park is the story of Disney. The park includes all the famous Disney characters such as Mickey and Friends, the Little Mermaid, the Disney Princess, Pinocchio and Winnie the Pooh. It also features a Narnia area and Aladdin’s Cave, and not forgetting the 2000 amazing ice sculptures on view. The park is spectacular for both adults and children alike.
Harbin Ice and Snow World 哈尔滨冰雪大世界 View In Map
Add: Songbei Dadao, Shixia District, Harbin 哈尔滨市辖区松北大道
Getting there: Take bus No. 552 88 551 346 219 216 212 211 85 54
Tel: 0451 8488 4263
Opening hours: 10:00 - 21:30
Admission fee: 200 RMB per person (includes entrance to the heat room (暖房))
Zhaolin Park 兆麟公园View In Map
Add: 37 Senlin Jie, Harbin 哈尔滨市森林街37号
Getting there: Take bus No. 101 or 103 to the park
Tel: 0451 8469 2804
Admission fee: 50 RMB per person in the day (9:00-16:00) and 100 RMB at night (17:00-21:00)
Tour packages are widely available to Harbin this winter season and with the overwhelming influx of migrants wishing to return home for Spring Festival and hence overwhelming China’s transport system, it may be worth considering buying a package tour that includes everything from transport to accommodation.
1) Easy Tour (易游天下国旅) is offering a four-five day tours to Harbin from 1050 RMB. The tour includes return hard-sleeper train tickets (from Beijing), accommodation, local bus transport, ice events on the Songhua River, breakfast and meals (not including drinks). Entrance to the Lantern Park and Snow and Ice World is not included. Trips leave form Beijing every day from Jan 20-31st. To book the tour or for more info check out their website (in Chinese).
2) Ctrip.com (携程旅行网) is offering tour packages to Harbin that leave from Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Nanjing and Hangzhou starting from 1962 RMB. Depending on whether you choose the independent travel package or the tour group one, prices include round-trip economy flights including taxes and accommodation fees for hotel of your choice and group entrance fees to sites. Check out their website for more info and other Chinese New Year special offers.
3) You’ll also find tour packages to Harbin at ChinaTravelDepot.com. The site is in English and they offer both 3 day and 5 day winter tour packages. Click here to view the page.
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